Traffic (Object Lessons)
Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things.
Speed. Bump. Speed. Traffic considers the history and philosophy of roundabouts, speed bumps, the pedestrian mall, and other efforts to manage traffic. Exploring ways to reign in the power of the internal combustion engine, ramp back century-long efforts to increase the flows of traffic, and establish greater balance between humans and machines, Paul Josephson considers the history of traffic, and the political and other controversies that frame the belated technological efforts to calm it.
Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in The Atlantic.
“Traffic is both insightful and entertaining. Based on a range of sources, it provides us with a fuller understanding of the methods by which we might be able to control the negative effects of the automobile on our cities.” – Joel A. Tarr, Richard S. Caliguiri University Professor of History and Policy, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
“Paul Josephson, with deft humor and brilliance, shines a spotlight on one of the simplest and most unassuming cures for our traffic ills-the speed bump. That invention is not the new, new thing, like Uber, autonomous vehicles, and paying for transit with your smart phone. The speed bump is tried and true, and represents much more than a lump of pavement. Its very idea is the way we must design the cities of the future for people and not just automobiles.” – Lois DeMeester, CEO and Founder of Mobility Lab
“These Object Lessons books are interesting little in-depth examinations and philosophical treatises on objects as disparate as cigarette lighters, hotels, questionnaires, eggs, drones, golf balls, shipping containers, and waste. Like many of the other authors in the series, Paul Josephson, through humor and intelligence, offers great insight. He makes reading about traffic much more pleasant than being stuck in it.” – Lit Hub